game

A game is a contest or pastime. Football, checkers, Monopoly, volleyball, Ms. Pacman — they're all fun games to play.

Some games are simple, like Connect Four or Tic Tac Toe. Others are played for millions of dollars, like professional basketball. Games usually have winners and losers, and people play them because they're fun. Other meanings of this word have less to do with playing: If you're a salesperson, you could say you're in the sales game. Wild animals that you hunt and eat are called game. And being game can mean you have disabled feet or legs.

Primary Meanings of game

1.
nadjv
an amusement or pastime
willing to face danger
place a bet on
2.
n
frivolous or trifling behavior
3.
n
your occupation or line of work
4.
n
animal hunted for food or sport
5.
adj
disabled in the feet or legs
Full Definitions of game
1

n an amusement or pastime

“they played word games
“he thought of his painting as a game that filled his empty time”
“his life was all fun and games
Types:
show 14 types...
hide 14 types...
catch
a cooperative game in which a ball is passed back and forth
party game
a game to amuse guests at a party
computer game, video game
a game played against a computer
pinball, pinball game
a game played on a sloping board; the object is to propel marbles against pins or into pockets
guessing game
a game in which participants compete to identify some obscurely indicated thing
ducks and drakes
a game in which a flat stone is bounced along the surface of calm water
mind game
any game designed to exercise the intellect
hare and hounds, paper chase
an outdoor game; one group of players (the hares) start off on a long run scattering bits of paper (the scent) and pursuers (the hounds) try to catch them before they reach a designated spot
ring-a-rosy, ring-around-a-rosy, ring-around-the-rosy
a children's game in which the players dance around in a circle and at a given signal all squat
prisoner's base
a children's game; two teams capture opposing players by tagging them and taking them to their own base
treasure hunt
a game in which players try to find hidden articles by using a series of clues
virtual reality
a hypothetical three-dimensional visual world created by a computer; user wears special goggles and fiber optic gloves etc., and can enter and move about in this world and interact with objects as if inside it
pachinko
a Japanese pinball game played on a vertical board
charades
player acts out a phrase for others to guess
Type of:
diversion, recreation
an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates

n a contest with rules to determine a winner

“you need four people to play this game
Types:
show 77 types...
hide 77 types...
curling
a game played on ice in which heavy stones with handles are slid toward a target
bowling
a game in which balls are rolled at an object or group of objects with the aim of knocking them over or moving them
pall-mall
a 17th century game; a wooden ball was driven along an alley with a mallet
athletic game
a game involving athletic activity
child's game
a game enjoyed by children
card game, cards
a game played with playing cards
table game
a game that is played on a table
parlor game, parlour game
a game suitable for playing in a parlor
gambling game, game of chance
a game that involves gambling
zero-sum game
a game in which the total of all the gains and losses is zero
tenpin bowling, tenpins
bowling down an alley at a target of ten wooden pins
ninepins, skittles
a bowling game that is played by rolling a bowling ball down a bowling alley at a target of nine wooden pins
duckpins
a bowling game using a pin smaller than a tenpin but proportionately wider
candlepin bowling, candlepins
a bowling game using slender bowling pins
bowls, lawn bowling
a bowling game played on a level lawn with biased wooden balls that are rolled at a jack
bocce, bocci, boccie
Italian bowling played on a long narrow dirt court
hockey, hockey game, ice hockey
a game played on an ice rink by two opposing teams of six skaters each who try to knock a flat round puck into the opponents' goal with angled sticks
tetherball
a game with two players who use rackets to strike a ball that is tethered to the top of a pole; the object is to wrap the string around the pole
water polo
a game played in a swimming pool by two teams of swimmers who try to throw an inflated ball into the opponents' goal
outdoor game
an athletic game that is played outdoors
court game
an athletic game played on a court
blindman's bluff, blindman's buff
a children's game in which a blindfolded player tries to catch and identify other players
cat and mouse, cat and rat
a game for children in which the players form a circle and join hands; they raise their hands to let a player inside the circle or lower their hands to bar a second player who is chasing the first
cat's cradle
a game played with string looped over the fingers
hide and go seek, hide-and-seek
a game in which a child covers his eyes while the other players hide then tries to find them
hopscotch
a game in which a child tosses a stone into an area drawn on the ground and then hops through it and back to regain the stone
jacks, jackstones, knucklebones
a game in which jackstones are thrown and picked up in various groups between bounces of a small rubber ball
jackstraws, spillikins
a game in which players try to pick each jackstraw (or spillikin) off of a pile without moving any of the others
jump rope
a child's game or a cardiopulmonary exercise in which the player jumps over a swinging rope
leapfrog
a game in which one child bends down and another leaps over
marbles
a children's game played with little balls made of a hard substance (as glass)
mumble-the-peg, mumblety-peg
a game in which players throw or flip a jackknife in various ways so that the knife sticks in the ground
going to Jerusalem, musical chairs
a child's game in which players march to music around a group of chairs that contains one chair less than the number of players; when the music abruptly stops the players scramble to sit and the player who does not find a chair is eliminated; then a chair is removed and the march resumes until only the winner is seated
bopeep, peekaboo
a game played with young children; you hide your face and suddenly reveal it as you say boo!
pillow fight
a child's game of fighting with pillows
post office
a children's game in which kisses are exchanged for pretended letters
spin the bottle
a game in which a player spins a bottle and kisses the person that it points to when it stops spinning
spin the plate, spin the platter
a game in which something round (as a plate) is spun on edge and the name of a player is called; the named player must catch the spinning object before it falls or pay a forfeit
tag
a game in which one child chases the others; the one who is caught becomes the next chaser
tiddlywinks
a game in which players try to flip plastic disks into a cup by pressing them on the side sharply with a larger disk
all fours, high-low-jack
card games in which points are won for taking the high or low or jack or game
baccarat, chemin de fer
a card game played in casinos in which two or more punters gamble against the banker; the player wins who holds 2 or 3 cards that total closest to nine
beggar-my-neighbor, beggar-my-neighbour, strip-Jack-naked
a card game for two players in which the object is to win all of the other player's cards
blackjack, twenty-one, vingt-et-un
a gambling game using cards; the object is to hold cards having a higher count than those dealt to the banker up to but not exceeding 21
bridge
any of various card games based on whist for four players
casino, cassino
a card game in which cards face up on the table are taken with eligible cards in the hand
crib, cribbage
a card game (usually for two players) in which each player is dealt six cards and discards one or two
ecarte
a card game for 2 players; played with 32 cards and king high
euchre, five hundred
a card game similar to ecarte; each player is dealt 5 cards and the player making trump must take 3 tricks to win a hand
fantan, parliament, sevens
a card game in which you play your sevens and other cards in sequence in the same suit as the sevens; you win if you are the first to use all your cards
faro
a card game in which players bet against the dealer on the cards he will draw from a dealing box
Go Fish
a card game for two players who try to assemble books of cards by asking the opponent for particular cards
four-card monte, monte, three-card monte
a gambling card game of Spanish origin; 3 or 4 cards are dealt face up and players bet that one of them will be matched before the others as the cards are dealt from the pack one at a time
Chicago, Michigan, Newmarket, boodle, stops
a gambling card game in which chips are placed on the ace and king and queen and jack of separate suits (taken from a separate deck); a player plays the lowest card of a suit in his hand and successively higher cards are played until the sequence stops; the player who plays a card matching one in the layout wins all the chips on that card
Napoleon, nap
a card game similar to whist; usually played for stakes
old maid
a card game using a pack of cards from which one queen has been removed; players match cards and the player holding the unmatched queen at the end of the game is the loser (or `old maid')
bezique, penuchle, pinochle, pinocle
a card game played with a pack of forty-eight cards (two of each suit for high cards); play resembles whist
piquet
a card game for two players using a reduced pack of 32 cards
pisha paysha
(Yiddish) a card game for two players one of whom is usually a child; the deck is place face down with one card face upward; players draw from the deck alternately hoping to build up or down from the open card; the player with the fewest cards when the deck is exhausted is the winner
poker, poker game
any of various card games in which players bet that they hold the highest-ranking hand
rouge et noir, trente-et-quarante
a card game in which two rows of cards are dealt and players can bet on the color of the cards or on which row will have a count nearer some number
rum, rummy
a card game based on collecting sets and sequences; the winner is the first to meld all their cards
patience, solitaire
a card game played by one person
long whist, short whist, whist
a card game for four players who form two partnerships; a pack of 52 cards is dealt and each side scores one point for each trick it takes in excess of six
Ping-Pong, table tennis
a game (trademark Ping-Pong) resembling tennis but played on a table with paddles and a light hollow ball
dominoes, dominos
any of several games played with small rectangular blocks
nim
game in which matchsticks are arranged in rows and players alternately remove one or more of them; in some versions the object is to take the last remaining matchstick on the table and in other versions the object is to avoid taking the last remaining matchstick on the table
billiards
any of several games played on rectangular cloth-covered table (with cushioned edges) in which long tapering cue sticks are used to propel ivory (or composition) balls
pocket billiards, pool
any of various games played on a pool table having 6 pockets
bagatelle, bar billiards
a table game in which short cues are used to knock balls into holes that are guarded by wooden pegs; penalties are incurred if the pegs are knocked over
word game
any game involving the formation or alteration or discovery of words
board game
a game played on a specially designed board
fan tan, fantan
a Chinese gambling game; a random number of counters are placed under a bowl and you gamble on how many will be left (0, 1, 2, or 3 modulo 4)
drawing, lottery
players buy (or are given) chances and prizes are distributed by casting lots
craps
a gambling game played with two dice; a first throw of 7 or 11 wins and a first throw of 2, 3, or 12 loses and a first throw of any other number must be repeated to win before a 7 is thrown, which loses the bet and the dice
roulette
a gambling game in which players bet on which compartment of a revolving wheel a small ball will come to rest in
banking game
any gambling game in which bets are laid against the gambling house or the dealer
Type of:
activity
any specific behavior

n a single play of a sport or other contest

“the game lasted two hours”
Types:
show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
away game, road game
a game played away from home
home game
a game played at home
exhibition game, practice game
a game whose outcome is not recorded in the season's standing
nightcap
the final game of a double header
double feature, doubleheader, twin bill
two games instead of one (especially in baseball when the same two teams play two games on the same day)
playoff game
one game in the series of games constituting a playoff
cup tie
an eliminating game between teams in a cup competition
Type of:
competition, contest
an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestants

n (tennis) a division of play during which one player serves

Type of:
division, part, section
one of the portions into which something is regarded as divided and which together constitute a whole

n (games) the score at a particular point or the score needed to win

“the game is 6 all”
“he is serving for the game
Type of:
score
a number that expresses the accomplishment of a team or an individual in a game or contest

n the game equipment needed in order to play a particular game

“the child received several games for his birthday”
Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
puzzle
a game that tests your ingenuity
Chinese puzzle
intricate or ingenious puzzle consisting of boxes within boxes
jigsaw puzzle
a puzzle that requires you to reassemble a picture that has been mounted on a stiff base and cut into interlocking pieces
tangram
a Chinese puzzle consisting of a square divided into seven pieces that must be arranged to match particular designs
crossword, crossword puzzle
a puzzle in which words corresponding to numbered clues are to be found and written in to squares in the puzzle
Type of:
game equipment
equipment or apparatus used in playing a game

adj willing to face danger

Synonyms:
gamey, gamy, gritty, mettlesome, spirited, spunky
brave, courageous
possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching

v place a bet on

Synonyms:
back, bet on, gage, punt, stake
Types:
ante
place one's stake
double up, parlay
stake winnings from one bet on a subsequent wager
Type of:
bet, play, wager
stake on the outcome of an issue
2

n frivolous or trifling behavior

“for actors, memorizing lines is no game
“for him, life is all fun and games
Type of:
caper, frolic, gambol, play, romp
gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement

n a secret scheme to do something (especially something underhand or illegal)

“I saw through his little game from the start”
Synonyms:
plot, secret plan
Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
counterplan, counterplot
a plot intended to subvert another plot
intrigue, machination
a crafty and involved plot to achieve your (usually sinister) ends
cabal, conspiracy
a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)
priestcraft
a derogatory reference to priests who use their influence to control secular or political affairs
Gunpowder Plot
a conspiracy in 1605 in England to blow up James I and the Houses of Parliament to avenge the persecution of Catholics in England; led by Guy Fawkes
Type of:
scheme, strategy
an elaborate and systematic plan of action
3

n your occupation or line of work

“he's in the plumbing game
Synonyms:
biz
Type of:
business, job, line, line of work, occupation
the principal activity in your life that you do to earn money
4

n animal hunted for food or sport

Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
big game
large animals that are hunted for sport
game bird
any bird (as grouse or pheasant) that is hunted for sport
grouse
popular game bird having a plump body and feathered legs and feet
phasianid
a kind of game bird in the family Phasianidae
partridge, tinamou
heavy-bodied small-winged South American game bird resembling a gallinaceous bird but related to the ratite birds
Type of:
animal, animate being, beast, brute, creature, fauna
a living organism characterized by voluntary movement

n the flesh of wild animals that is used for food

Types:
venison
meat from a deer used as food
buffalo
meat from an American bison
hare, rabbit
flesh of any of various rabbits or hares (wild or domesticated) eaten as food
Type of:
meat
the flesh of animals (including fishes and birds and snails) used as food
5

adj disabled in the feet or legs

“a game leg”
Synonyms:
crippled, gimpy, halt, halting, lame
unfit
not in good physical or mental condition; out of condition

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.